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A West Philadelphia Small Business Scales Up

Reinvestment Fund borrower, Jarde’ Allen, started her tax business from her couch in West Philadelphia in 2019. As a lifelong resident of the neighborhood with years of experience in Corporate America, Jarde’s primary mission in starting her own business was to amplify and uplift minority-owned small businesses within her community.

Today, Jarde’ is the CEO of In the Moment Financial Services, a thriving tax services company operating out of permanent office space in West Philadelphia. In the Moment considers itself “the one-stop shop for all your financial needs”. They offer a multitude of resources from tax preparation, home buying courses, LLC services, and even tailored financial services for childcare providers.  

Expanding her business to where it is today wasn’t easy, her attempts to get support from traditional banks came with barriers. After that first year, Jarde’ was clear on the next step–she needed to acquire a building to operate her business. But despite a highly successful first year and the finances to back it, banks and their lenders didn’t see the value of Jarde’s vision for a scaled-up tax services business with its own storefront. Jarde’ could see that she had the ability to build, the skills to move forward and the drive and passion to continue to grow her business—she just needed someone else to see it too. 

 
 

There are a lot of stigmas in the African-American community about finances, about credit, about paying for a service like this. Overcoming that barrier [trust] is essential.

With the traditional routes to acquiring a building exhausted, Jarde’ started researching other options and stumbled on Reinvestment Fund. An application later and her information was now in front of Senior Director and Philadelphia Market Leader, Elizabeth Frantz, who has been involved in the lending arm of the Reinvestment Fund for almost 10 years. Elizabeth works closely with borrowers of different capacities to develop flexible financing solutions for their projects, “We look at a variety of eligibility requirements in lending. They include feasibility, the ability to repay, and most importantly the mission and impact of the business,” she explains, “Jarde’ checked all the boxes, and it was a very strong mission fit for us.”  

When she first spoke to Elizabeth, Jarde’ explained her vision of taking her business to the next level through a physical space in the community and building a team. Elizabeth saw the value her expanded services could have in the community, she explained, “Her property was located next to a commercial corridor and her plans to rent out a portion of the space were sound.” With a loan from Reinvestment Fund in the fall of 2020, Jarde’ acquired a permanent space for her business, propelling her and her team to new heights.

“Having a building allowed me to become more of a resource in my community, it also establishes you more as a legitimate business,” Jarde’ said smiling. Her own experience with taxes had motivated her to create this business, yet as she grew in it, she began to see the ways in which building trust in her community would be paramount to success. “There are a lot of stigmas in the African-American community about finances, about credit, about paying for a service like this. Overcoming that barrier [trust] is essential,” Jarde’ said. With her original desire focused on supporting minority entrepreneurs, and with the new office space, she was dedicated to building up that trust within her community. Today, Jarde’ is doing just that, and she is visibly joyful about how she leverages her physical space to create valuable resources for the community, she explains “We offer free LLCs to youth with business plans, we host workshops, and small business showcases.”

 
 

Jarde’ is one of those people that genuinely loves to give back to her community, she’s a woman about her business that cares. She’s approachable, easy to work with, and knows her stuff. All those characteristics made her the perfect fit for Train the Trainer.

In 2022, Jarde’ was brought back into the fold with Reinvestment Fund, but this time, we were seeking her out. The Early Childhood Education Program: Train the Trainer works to pair financial professionals with childcare providers in Philadelphia and was ending, but there was still some ongoing need for financial trainers to work with providers on bookkeeping and tax preparation. The program lead, Desmond Hudson, received Jarde’s referral from Elizabeth Frantz and when contacted Jarde’ jumped at the opportunity. “Jarde’ is one of those people that genuinely loves to give back to her community, she’s a woman about her business that cares. She’s approachable, easy to work with, and knows her stuff. All those characteristics made her the perfect fit for Train the Trainer,” Hudson said. Jarde’ is currently supporting ten providers—the majority of which are women and local to Philadelphia—to guide them through the upcoming tax season. The program is designed to enable Jarde’ to support all the providers, while being compensated through grants with Reinvestment Fund, thus taking the cost of tax-prep off the shoulders of providers.

Jarde’s story is a reminder of how community investment can step in where mainstream finance often fails. Despite the inability of traditional lenders to see it, her tenacity, business savvy, and commitment to her community was a recipe for success. Through the support from Reinvestment Fund, Jarde’s growing business had the foundation it needed to reach far beyond the walls of her office.  As her roots dig deeper, so does the impact her work is having on the community, and Reinvestment Fund can’t wait to see what she does next.

For more information, contact

 
 
Elizabeth Frantz
Senior Director and Philadelphia Market Leader, Lending & Investments

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A West Philadelphia Small Business Scales Up